Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 By-Pass of the Lincoln Highway’s King Tower Cafe

Photo courtesy of King Tower Cafe Facebook's site.

Tama, Iowa’s King Tower Café has been in operation since 1937 on the historic Lincoln Highway, which was also known as Highway 30 until a few months ago. Now a four lane Tama Toledo by-pass has opened connecting the two lane Highway 30 just east of town with the four lane state wide project near the Meskawki Casino just west of Tama.

What the new Highway 30 by-pass effectively does is routes all traffic just to the north of the King Tower Café and historic Lincoln Highway bridge, built in 1915. The bridge is one of the few remaining original structures of the early nationwide highway.

The by-pass result is a quicker ride through the two mid-Iowa cities but has dramatically reduced traffic to the café and surrounding businesses.

In its day, the King Tower Café offered food, overnight lodging (18 cabins), a service station, wrecker service, and native souvenirs to motorists on the Lincoln Highway. The last remaining cabin is located just behind the café, north of the gravel parking lot.

The café was closed for the day when I went to see it last week. I decided to photograph the café’s exterior. Prominent are the King Tower sign and iconic Indian neon sign that still defy the ages. Compare those images to a 1950s era image that I found on the café’s Facebook site. Come see this roadway icon on your next trip across Iowa. You'll need to take the eastern exit off the by-pass to visit the cafe and bridge. Know that.

1 comment:

  1. So sad to see iconic places like that slip into oblivion. Those old signs are awesome!